James Benjamin Bynum

James Benjamin Bynum
James Benjamin Bynum

James Benjamin Bynum, 75, of Amarillo, Texas, died February 15, 2019.

Services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Monday, February 18, 2019, at Boxwell Brothers Ivy Chapel. Burial will be at Llano Cemetery following services. The family will receive friends from 4-5:30 p.m., Sunday, February 17, 2019, at Boxwell Brothers Funeral Home, 2800 Paramount Blvd.

Ben was born April 16, 1943, to Isabel and James Smith Bynum in Amarillo. He graduated from Amarillo High School in 1961. While at AHS, he was an active member of the Speech and Debate team, Amarillo Little Theater, and KFDA TV News Station. After graduating from AHS, he attended the University of Texas at Austin where he was the president of his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha and served on the Athletic Council under Darrell Royal.

On August 26, 1966, Ben married Penny Brooks in Austin, Texas. In the late 1960s, he began his political career as a member of the Texas House of Representatives where he was the Chairman of the Insurance Committee. He was later elected Potter County Judge and assisted in the building of the Potter County Courts Building. In the mid 1980s, he became the Executive Director of the Care Unit in Canyon where he helped many people overcome their alcohol and drug addictions. He finished his career as the Executive Director of the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse under Gov. Ann Richards. In retirement, he spent his time serving on the Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation Board, enjoying his grandchildren’s activities and supporting his beloved Texas Longhorns.

He is survived by his wife Penny of 52 years, daughter Susan Lewallen and husband Cliff of Lubbock, daughter Brooke McKinney and husband Page of Amarillo, and sister Ann Whittenburg of Amarillo; grandchildren,  Lindsey, Emily and Peyton Lewallen and Nelson and Charlie McKinney.

21 Replies to “James Benjamin Bynum”

  1. I learned today of Ben’s passing. I wish I would have known earlier. I loved Ben Bynum – for his compassion for the less fortunate; for his willingness to help whenever anyone asked; for his depth of Texas history; for his shrewd political mind and humor; and for teaching me to laugh when it was easier to cry. Sending love to Penny, Susan, Brooke and the entire Bynum family.

  2. Ben u changed my life 29 years when i was a drunk/ uo never gave up me. Thankyou Bem & remeber Penny getting penny upset as i called

  3. Penny, just found out about Ben today. Wish we had known.
    Please accept our deepest sympathy. We are burying Nan’s husband Larry on Saturday

    Dick & Arlene

  4. Penny, l dearly loved Ben. I have wonderful childhood memories being with Ben and Ann during our summer visits to Amarillo. Ben was always so much fun.

    It saddens me to hear about his passing. You and your family are in my prayers.

    Love, Lois Beeman Waugh

  5. Penny
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Ben was a very special person. He was the best Boss I ever worked for .
    May God grant you strength and peace during this trying time.
    Sorry I lost track of you and Ben after Bill and I left Amarillo.

  6. Sending Love and Light to Penny, Susan, Brooke and the Bynum families. I have such fond memories of Ben – he was a treasure to so many – a dear soul. He leaves a legacy of love and service.
    Much love to you –

  7. Penny, Susan, & Brooke we have many wonderful memories of Ben. You were not just our neighbors for so many years, you were our dear friends. Mother & I will be praying for peace, comfort, & strength for all. You will be together again.
    Lynn & Maudie

  8. As I went through the weekend my mind ,though sad ,kept smiling at many memories of Ben starting in Mrs Blanton’s Kindergarten class. We remained friends always treasuring AHS reunions to catch up.
    He will be missed by his family and my thoughts will be with his family and Penny most of all. Love ,Molly

  9. Ben was an amazing man who was full of patience and kindness. He was there for me at a time in my life when I really needed him. What a legacy. Prayers to all the family.

  10. I had my very first date with Ben, and we remained close friends through high school and college. Our grandparents and parents were friends as well. My thoughts are with you, Penny, and with all of your family.
    Sending love,

  11. Ben became my good friend and co-worker at the Canyon Careunit. We began each day with a brief meeting that included me listening and Ben talking. He always entered with a smile on his face, and he left me with a smile on mine.
    My sincere condolences to Penny and family. May God bless and comfort each of you.

  12. Dear Penny, Susan and Brooke, I am so sport to learn of your loss! I pray that God’s peace surround you and your families at this time of sadness. May He bless you each with the comfort of memories and the love of those that surround you.

    Suzanne Nguyen

  13. Penny and girls, I am so sorry for your loss. Ben was such a good friend to Richard and to me too during my time in Amarillo. I think I remember him best as an animated narrator of a good story!

    Love to you all,

  14. Dear Penny,
    Prayers for you and your family. Jean just sent me a message about Ben’s death. She and Patsy and Patsy’s husband, Gene, visited me a week ago in Bryan. Jean told me that you all had moved back to Amarillo.
    These next few weeks will be overwhelming but know you are in many hearts and prayers.
    Love, Barbara Banks

  15. Prayers to the family of Ben Bynum. Ben’s public service, love of family, and of Amarillo have been of great benefit to many! Happy trails old friend!

    Claiborn & Carol Crain

  16. Sending love and prayers to Brooke, Susan, and Ann and your families. What an amazing Texas leader Ben was! My oldest son’s name is James Benjamin too, and now that is extra special to me.

  17. So sorry to read about your dad, grandfather, loved soul’s death.
    My heart hurts for all of you, beloved people. No time is ever the right time, is it. Love you all and am holding you in my heart. Aunt Jo

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